I’m terrified of going to the dentist. From a young age I never liked going to the dentist, even more the orthodontist. I was in braces for over 4 years. I’ve had the inside of my mouth slashed by an orthodontist who couldn’t get the wire out of that last bracket and just pulled really hard. Ahh the torture. One dental appointment scarred me for life.
It was a routine cleaning visit. I was either a Senior in high school or maybe even first year of college. The dentist came in to do his check and he thought my last upper molar had deep grooves. He jabbed and jabbed at it asking me if it hurt. It didn’t. He decided that since I was going off to college and might not keep my 6 month appointment, he was going to give me a filling – just to be sure. Nice. He gave me that shot to numb the area and left the room. When he came back, he got right to work. I still remember the shooting pain from that drill. When he began to drill, I grabbed his arm and pulled it out of my mouth before I could even think about what I was doing. He gave me a good chewing out, 3 more shots and left the room for a LONG time. He came back and finished everything up and I decided that I never needed to see a dentist ever again.
Fast forward to many years later, I now go every 6 months like I’m supposed to. I found a nice dentist that can deal with my irrational fears of people picking at my teeth. I have had that same tooth filled 4 times. My dentist calls it my nemesis tooth. When I finally went to a dentist after years of not going, I found out that the original guy didn’t fill it properly – thus explaining the pain I always had there that I assumed was psychosomatic. This last filling was after I had Baby E. I was reminded that pregnancies often cause dental problems – how nice.
I’ve recently had my 6 month cleaning. I was so stressed about going. Ever since that last filling, I’ve had intermittent pain in that tooth. The dentist had told me that I would have to get a crown if that tooth required any further work. I had read a little bit about how crowns were done and decided to stop because it was just making me so stressed. I secretly hoped that I wouldn’t be able to find a babysitter so I could cancel the appointment. But, Grandpa was more than happy to spend time with Baby E all to himself.
Get this, there’s nothing clinically wrong with the tooth. The films were fine, the check was fine, and they even did some special film to check the nerve and roots – all fine. The recommendation is that I get the tooth extracted, not a crown. There is not a tooth beneath that one, so this tooth isn’t serving a purpose, it’s not helping to grind food. I thought, “Cool, sounds WAY better than a crown” but I didn’t have the full story yet. I would need to have it done by a dental surgeon. The roots of the tooth go deep into the bone and are very close to the sinus cavity. One potential complication would be that it would leave a hole into the sinus cavity (ewe). So, a dental surgeon would be well equipped to handle such a situation. Plus, I was told that they have much better medications for sedation and numbing (bonus). Then there was this word “sectioning” may be required. Uh! Backup. Sectioning? That doesn’t sound so nice. It’s where they use a saw to cut the tooth in pieces to make it easier to get out. Ummm. Really? Easier? Yeah, my stomach flipped right there.
The good news is that I don’t have to do anything – for right now. Since there is nothing clinically wrong with the tooth, I can just leave it there. I may be feeling some early degeneration of the nerve because the last filling is very close to the nerve. As the nerve continues to degenerate, I will experience more pain. When I’ve decided that I no longer want the pain, I can choose to have it extracted. Or, if I just want to get rid of this nemesis tooth once and for all, I can go get it done right away.
I’m thinking that I’m just going to wait a while.